February 14th 2022

Interview master's graduate and WKT science award winner Thomas Margreiter

An interview with Thomas Margreiter about his career at the MCI and the Science Award of the Chamber of Commerce.

Thomas Margreiter graduated from the "Mechatronics & Smart Technologies" degree program at MCI in 2021. He wrote his master's thesis on "Development of GaN-based modular converter for fast scanning magnets of particle accelerators" and received the Science Award of the Tyrol Chamber of Commerce for it. The award ceremony honors outstanding master's theses and dissertations that are of high significance in terms of innovation and promotion of the Tyrolean economy.

Thomas Margreiter, congratulations on the Science Award of the Tyrolean Chamber of Commerce! What does the prize mean to you?

The prize is first and foremost a confirmation of the hard work. In this case, the master's thesis, as well as the hardships that this intense half-year entailed. Considering that I developed the hardware and software of a project in half a year, one can speak of a very athletic schedule.

Where does your passion for electrotechnical processes and innovative research come from?

My passion for electrotechnical processes arose early on. Before I started studying at MCI, I completed an apprenticeship as an electrical operations technician, which sparked my interest. For example, in my free time, I did research on devices and their mechanisms. After my apprenticeship, I decided to study mechatronics at MCI, with a focus on electrical engineering.

What motivated you to write your master's thesis on the MedAustron particle accelerator, which is used in the medical field and, among other things, in cancer therapy?

The keyword here is cancer therapy because one of the goals of a particle accelerator is to shorten the treatment time in radiation therapy. On the one hand, this can relieve the patient's pain and on the other hand, several patients can be treated at the same time. The possibility that a development you are working on, can later actually be used in cancer therapy is enormously motivating. My work as a project staff member in the EAL "Emerging Applications Lab" had a strong impact on me and eventually brought me closer to the MedAustron particle accelerator. This is also how the idea for my master's thesis came about.

You have now completed your master's degree. How did your studies shape your future path?

It already started during my bachelor's degree in mechatronics. There I already realized that my interests lay in the electrotechnical field. Nowadays, however, many processes and controllers are implemented digitally, so you also have to deal with software development. The interdisciplinary nature of the degree program helps you to develop and deepen your knowledge very well. This is what finally led me to complete the master's degree at MCI. There I was looking forward to the electrodynamics and the many projects, which are very helpful for my future working life, but also the laboratory exercises.

Another important reason that contributed to this is, certainly the social aspect. You already know your environment and are a close-knit group and knowing that you are in it together, spurs you on. All my experiences have led me to start a doctoral program.

What is in store for you in your doctoral studies?

I’m employed as a Ph.D. student at MedAustron and can continue my research there. To be more precise, I am working on a similar further development of a particle accelerator in radiation therapy. There it is about a magnetic field correction control. This means I can implement many aspects I have already learned in my master's and bachelor's degrees. The goal will be to facilitate the treatment of cancer patients. I hope, of course, that I will be able to realize my goal. 

Finally, do you have any words or tips for prospective students at MCI who are interested in studying mechatronics?

Stick with it (laughs). I think that motivation can suffer a lot, especially during exam periods. I am convinced that you can grow from such challenges and learn not to give up so quickly.

The fellow students, the social aspect, and of course my supervisor Dr. Maurizio Incurvati, who was an amazing contact person for me at all times, definitely helped me to progress in my studies at the MCI. My supervisor always had advice ready for me and he took the time to discuss the topic in detail with me. Without him and my fellow students, I probably would not have won a science award. Both parties have made a very important contribution.

We wish Thomas Margreiter all the best for the future.

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Science Award Winner Thomas Margreiter ©Die Fotografen